Business Services

New Unmanned Oil Rigs To Be Used In North Sea

The oil and gas industry can be hugely lucrative for companies, but it is not an easy sector to work in. Due to the logistical and safety issues involved in extracting these resources from beneath the earth’s surface, it is crucial that organisations plan and execute their tasks with absolute precision.

This is why it is so important for businesses to have access to top-quality pipe fittings, flanges and other provisions. It is only by using the very best resources that enterprises can operate successfully. Luckily, it is now simple for companies to get hold of fittings that meet the necessary criteria.

Meanwhile, demand for these items may be on the increase among firms operating in the North Sea. Engineering specialist Amec recently announced that it is developing floating platforms for use in this body of water. It has signed a memorandum of understanding with Unmanned Production Buoy (UPB) to develop a total of three platforms.

These platforms will be unmanned, making them similar to the so-called ‘nodding donkey’ automated rigs used in North America.

For the past seven years, UPB’s founder and chairman Richard Selwa has been working on a method to exploit small offshore oil finds that are either ‘tail-end resources’ or fields that have become uneconomic to develop with fully manned facilities.

He estimates that there are around two billion barrels still to be produced off the UK’s shoreline that his rigs could exploit. Thanks to the deal with Amec, UPB can now proceed with project Hoy, the plans for which detail a £756 million oil extraction process involving the automated buoys.

Commenting on the development, Mr Selwa said: “Our UPB solution makes many late-life and marginal field offshore assets economically viable. The UPB concept provides an attractive solution when capital-intensive options such as Floating Production Storage and Offload vessels and manned installations are uneconomic.”

Meanwhile, Alan Johnstone from Amec added: “This exciting concept will help push the boundaries of offshore oil and gas technology in the UK North Sea and beyond.”

The Scotsman noted that UPB started developing a small prototype of the buoy in 2010 with the Industry Technology Facilitator, which is based at the Aberdeen Science and Energy Park. That year, the company also received approximately £500,000 in funding from the Scottish Government via its Young Innovative Entrepreneur grant.

It is now hoping to build around 100 systems for use in European waters and oceans elsewhere across the globe.

Increasingly, companies in the oil and gas industries, as well as other sectors, are heading online to find the supplies they need. Whether they are on the lookout for pipe flanges or any other products, managers can now search cyberspace to buy what they want. This method of sourcing is quick and simple, helping to free up more time to focus on other tasks.

Of course, when managers are seeking fittings, it is vital that they succeed in finding items of a high standard. Any lapses in quality can lead to serious consequences for people, property and the environment.

About the Author – Anna Longdin is a freelance blogger who contributes regularly to a wide range of manufacturing and engineering sites, including Chemipetro Limited.